Image result for jack reacher never go back

You go through comments sections on a few film websites and sooner or later the old line about Tom Cruise will come up. “Say what you will about Tom Cruise but he always gives 110%.” Various riffs on what he always does will appear from there. In a decade where his personal life has caused headlines in a negative way and his box office has diminished there have always been a core group (not even fans of the man) who couldn’t deny that the bulk of his work was consistently good and his work ethic remained strong. Jack Reacher was a case in point, fans of the Jack Reacher books couldn’t get past Cruise playing their buffed giant but those who actually showed up to see the film enjoyed it for its pithy dialogue, interesting crime story and solid action scenes. Reacher is a man without a home, Cain of the modern era, wandering from town to town righting wrongs and moving on tied down by no family or necessities. Maybe some of the edges of the character were chipped away for a major Hollywood blockbuster but he remained reliably fatalistic, confident even dismissive, single minded, black humoured and deadly. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out, it’s a classic throwback to the kind of testosterone fuelled fantasies of yesteryear.

The original film got what was so appealing about the character and this sequel directed by Ed Zwick now asks what if you play a variation on that and place that character into situations he doesn’t often find himself in. It’s one thing to mansplain to Rosamund Pike while she sits back in a dress that makes her bosoms heave. It’s an entirely different thing to find out you may have a teenage daughter and try to get her to listen to you.time jack nothing reacher

As the film opens Reacher has assisted a Military Police Major Susan Turner in the arrest of some bad hombres and they begin a cross country correspondence. When he finally makes his way to Washington for them to meet up he finds she’s been arrested on charges of treason and breaks her out. Now the two of them are on the run and take on a girl who has filed a paternity suit against him and is now in mortal danger from the people who framed Major Turner and have targeted Reacher too creating a make shift family dynamic. Reacher has always been protective of women and respectful of strong ones but now he is being forced to display emotions that he hasn’t had in a while and ponder the answers to questions that are never asked. Zwick who can do action epics and small character dramas was a natural fit having also worked with Cruise before on The Last Samurai. Alas the script is just not quite there. Related imageThe crime mystery itself is less clever and involving and the action scenes here less believable and gritty almost seeming to occur out of obligation rather than tactical inevitability. The talented Cobie Smulders as Major Turner never quite sells herself as a career military woman. A scene with her on a bed in a bathrobe suggests a an authentic earthy sexuality and she plays well off Cruise in this scene provoking him on many levels but think how fucking cool it would have been if Demi Moore had been cast in this role!!!

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a standard action film, nothing more and nothing less but Reacher deserves better. Tom Cruise has never done a sequel to one of his films outside the Mission Impossible series and the character of Reacher remains so compelling that we can only hope for another film but right now the saying might go “Say what you will about Tom Cruise but he really shouldn’t do sequels.”

-Lloyd Markentom cruise stunts mission impossible rogue nation jack reacher christopher mcquarrie


  1. Thanks for a good review, Lloyd. I haven’t read the books, nor seen either film. (Mainly because of an aversion to TC) However, if they are as you describe, I will give them a go sometime. Nothing wrong with some mindless action stuff now and again, after all!
    Cheers mate, Pete.

    1. Yeah movie stars you don’t like are a tough one. Where’s the Tom Cruise Punch Drunk Love? I guess Magnolia because it kind of subverts that image. I don’t see modern Cruise doing something like Interview with a Vampire. But I like the guy’s movies. The better ones for me are easily Rain Man, A Few Good Men, The Last Samurai, Collateral and the ensemble piece Magnolia. I also quite like Knight and Day as harmless fun. Oooh I know! See Edge of Tomorrow. They’ll kill him a bunch of times and Emily Blunt is in it looking like you know… Emily Blunt.

      1. Yippee, we have consensus. I sometimes wonder if that was the last time he was prepared to do something a bit different. Been doing a lot of action films since.

  2. Jack Reacher is 6’5″ (?). Cruise is 5’6″ (?) I have read all of the Lee Child books and I just can’t get into Cruise as Reacher no matter what. I know that is not the way to judge a movie, but I am afraid that there is just too much negativity around Cruise as a human being also. Thanks for the excellent recap, Lloyd, now I won’t spending any money on yet another Cruise ‘macho man’ movie.

  3. Whatever else he may be Cruise is a survivor. I’ve been watching him ever since the days of Risky Business.I doubt I’ll watch this but I agree about a Cruise/Demi Moore reunion… missed opportunities!

    1. I mean how awesome would Demi Moore have been kicking ass and taking names! She has that film history with A Few Good Men and G.I. Jane. Fucking Hollywood mate. How about Elizabeth Shue or Michelle Pfeiffer even? Have you seen the original Jack Reacher?

      1. I haven’t seen the original Jack Reacher and I hadn’t seen Rosamund Pike either, so I wasn’t prepared for that clip! Damn, Pike’s peaks are perfection!

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